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Arcadia neighbors concerned over series of arson incidents

Posted at 4:59 PM, Jan 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-02 21:30:12-05

PHOENIX  — It was a typically quiet Friday evening for 18-year-old Thomas Dumas. The night called for a movie and relaxing with his girlfriend just three days after Christmas.

"Around 10:30 at night, we heard a loud bang outside and at first we thought somebody just threw something at the house," Dumas said.

If only that was the case, a quick look out his window would deliver a devastating blow.

"When I looked out the window, my car was on fire, engulfed in flames," Dumas said.

Surveillance video would quickly reveal what really happened.

In it, a young man is seen walking up to the car, moments later a ball of fire erupts as the suspect happily high steps back to his ride.

"I think it's pretty cold-hearted that they think it's funny to destroy other peoples property," said Julie Butera, Dumas' mother.

Butera says she posted the video to the Nextdoor app. Soon learning she was actually the second location hit that same night.

Just a mile-and-a-half away, another fire, again caught on camera.

For two young men, their target this time was a 25-foot Italian Cypress tree. You can hear their laughter in the video as they run from the scene. A similar car is spotted fleeing both areas.

"For someone to arson, this is a serious offense," Butera said.

Coming to grips with the loss of the vehicle has been tough on the family. Thomas only carries liability insurance.

"I lost my car and now knowing that insurance doesn't cover it, it's like I have to take money out of my college fund," Dumas said.

Now this family and those who call the community home hope someone speaks up and puts the people responsible where they belong.

"They need to be stopped," Dumas said.

Phoenix fire officials are investigating the two incidents of arson near the Arcadia area last Friday.

One happening off 52nd Street and Virginia, the other at 42nd Place and Weldon.

If you have any information that could help lead them to the suspect you're asked to contact them immediately.